More notes on DMC and Mayo Civic Center
Among other shots-over-the-bow by Rochester area legislators at today's Eggs & Issues breakfast, DFL Rep. Kim Norton said this about prospects for Destination Medical Center:
"We have a big load to carry...probably five or six committees in the House...already we've heard some criticism," including aggressive comments from a Twin Cities DFLer on "whether this is an appropriate taxing mechanism," she said.
The first challenge is "to get it through the committee structure," she said. "The governor's attention (in his State of the State speech) was huge" in helping launch it through the process, she said.
The challenge when it comes to rounding up final votes, she said, is that it will likely "be in the tax bill and will require support" from Rochester legislators of both parties. Then it's a question of those who now express support voting for it as part of a larger bill. "It's just like our Civic Center (expansion)," Norton said. "You can say you support it, but if you don't vote for it in the end," then you don't, she said. "It's not quite as easy as saying we support it, it's are you going to support it at the end of the day?"
That was apparently a jab at Sen. Dave Senjem and Republicans for not pushing hard to get $37 million in state bonding for the now-$81 million Mayo Civic Center expansion project.
Senjem was having nothing of that when his turn came -- he pinned the blame on the Civic Center's failure to receive bonding on Gov. Mark Dayton, who he says gave top priority to the new St. Paul Saints ballpark. "He had his chance," Senjem said, "and he didn't take it."
(That's shorthand for how the bonding process actually worked last session, which was extraordinarily different, but I won't go into that here.)
Senjem also said flatly, "We'll have a bonding bill" this year. Norton had said earlier, "The question I would ask is, will there be a bonding bill, and also, will the Mayo Civic Center be in there?"
These and other comments made during the session hint at how the local GOPers are enjoying watching DFLers on the hot seat this session -- and this year may be payback for the harsh criticism Senjem and others took for not getting the Civic Center project over the goal line.